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Tanzania Nakuru, Kenya March 08 Changed to Moshi, Tanzania

After Thoughts

USA | Wednesday, 16 April 2008 | Views [846]

Well it has taken about a week, but I finally adjusted back into the day to day activities I once thought nothing about. I have been lucky enough to visit my family/friends, wakeboard in the delta and catch a few Warriors/A's games. Coming home just in time to catch the Warriors lose to Denver and in essence destroy their playoff hopes was depressing, lets just forget about that one!

There has been so much on my mind this last week. Thoughts of how oblivious our general public is to the level of poverty still prominent in areas of our World to thoughts of how travel and giving back to the less fortunate might be the single most important factor in personal growth.

Although I am thankful for the most rewarding experience of my life, it is a bit depressing to think that while everyone is going about their daily life here, millions face and live in unimaginable poverty and disease levels. At the same time it is completely ignorant to say everyone has it “good” in America. That would be wrong to say, it’s just that the poverty level I experienced with my own eyes was nothing short of shocking. Although shocking, I have to keep telling myself that the people living within these conditions do not know of a more materialistic life and there is hope for the future.

Our society hears about self-made success stories all the time. But does opportunity really exist in the places I visited in East Africa? My personal opinion is yes and no. Yes because developing areas and business opportunity go hand in hand and is always present. But who is really behind the business growth and profit making? Is it foreign business powers?

I answered no as well because just in the little time I was in Africa I saw too many children who had parents that couldn’t even afford their $25 a year education. What can be done if you have never had any form of education? And if someone is present to raise these children, disease is causing significant deaths in the family. This ultimatley just squeezes and eventually can cut off the source of family income, which in result destroys opportunity. Also what about the thousands of children in these areas born into this world HIV positive, where’s the opportunity there? It is the sad truth that currently there are conditions in this World that are just too hard to understand for most of us living in Westernized civilization unless educated about. All we can do is try to aid in whatever way possible and hope that this cycle is beatable. I believe it is and as an optimist, I know that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Our greatest gift is that we have the ability to help create that opportunity for these less fortunate people. I am now a firm believer that giving back, no matter how little really does help and make a big impact!

I truthfully feel blessed and honored that I was/and am in a position to give back. John D. Rockefeller Jr., although way too wealthy to truly understand poverty level, at least dropped a brilliant quote; "Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege." I earlier said this was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. A main reason for feeling this way is because I can now honestly understand what Rockefeller meant. Life is really not about the things you have or material possessions you acquire over your lifetime, but about the impact you make while being alive and the positive affects it leaves behind.

I also realized that traveling and seeing new places makes me happier than most things. I guess some motivation for being financially successful is also to allow me the opportunity to travel and see this World with my own eyes. I truly loved being submersed into a new culture. It was not only exciting, but created a deeper, more mature view point on this world for me.

Although the poverty was high and in most cases lacking fair opportunity where I was, it was beautiful to see all the happy, smiling people! Already mentioned in one of my journal entries, I cannot explain how fulfilling it is to see a community and family bond so strong. It was also special to feel how peaceful Tanzanians are. It is great to know that for the most part tribal barriers have been surpassed in Tanzania and that people see themselves as “Tanzanians” and not as a tribe against another. Hope this stays in stone, we all thought Kenya was on the right path until last December.

I will miss the people in my projects, but I intend to stay in contact and continue support throughout the years. I have always been intrigued with Africa, and volunteering has always been on my mind, so I am just glad that this adventure was possible. I am not sure when I will get 6 weeks off to get up and go without anything holding me back, wife, kids, work, animals, house payments, etc…

I hope you all enjoyed my journal and following along with me on my journey. I had some amazing support and couldn’t have made the progress I did without my sponsors. I recommend a similar experience to everyone who reads this, it can truly open your eyes to insights you never thought possible. Also if anyone wants to contact me and discuss any of my experiences in further detail, or just share view points I would be more than happy.

Best Regards and Hakuna Matata,

Chris Klein

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